|St. John's Head Coach Rick Pitino leading a practice. @StJohnsBBall.|
When St. John's hired Rick Pitino to be their new men's basketball head coach, it ushered in a summer that transformed their program that's been very peripatetic and now could be a powerhouse.
On Monday, the first recognition of that came in the form of the Red Storm receiving 47 votes in the first Associated Press Preseason Top 25 poll of the 2023-24 college basketball season.
St. John's is one of sic teams from the Big East to receive votes, and they ranked 23rd on CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein's ballot.
This was the first time they received votes in the preseason poll since 2018-19, which was Chris Mullin's last year at the helm. They received three votes in that poll, and they then were ranked in the poll during that season, when they reached as high as 24th on their way to a NCAA Tournament berth.
Mullin was let go after that season for Mike Anderson, and they never made the AP poll or reached March Madness in his four-year term, which only accentuates the sea change under Pitino.
IN ACTION: St. John's will play their first exhibition game this Saturday, when they host Rutgers at 2 p.m. at Carnesecca Arena. It will benefit the Dick Vitale Pediatric Cancer Research Fund at the V Foundation.
General admission tickets to the game will be $20 for lower level, $10 for upper level, and $5 for student tickets, with all proceeds going to support pediatric cancer research.
Pitino said in a statement when the game was announced, "Personally, there is no better charity than helping pediatric cancer research through the Jimmy V Foundation. There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing a young child suffer, so we are delighted to join with Rutgers to donate money from this exhibition to the V Foundation. The fact Jimmy V. played for Rutgers is a great sidebar."